CULTURE

Adjusting to student life

Feshly arrived at the University of Patra, Ahmet and Osman are busy sorting out their registration paperwork when they meet Aisha and Fatma. All four are trying to adapt to their new lives and they are scared. They are alone in an unknown city where the academic year is already under way. They hang out together, sharing the same fears and the agony of adjustment.

This is just the beginning of a new reality that makes up the script of a short feature film created by Greek students, all stemming from the Muslim minority of Thrace, describing their Greek student life. ?Ebedi Ogrencilik? (Student Eternity) is the title of the half-hour film, which rather than presenting contrasts and differences, focuses on the young adults? adjustment to student and social life.

Shot entirely in the Peloponnesian port city of Patra, the short film is the product of Ogrenci Alemi, an association of Muslim students, established in 2006, which brings together minority students living around Greece through a website and a namesake annual publication.

All of the association?s members (about 4,000 people) follow the same path. After living in the secluded society of Thrace all their lives, their academic success has now landed them in ?unknown? Greece.

?The life of Muslim students is not that different from the life of other students. It?s just the beginning which is tough. They come from a closed background, they have never traveled before and now, all of a sudden, they find themselves in an unknown city. They enter university with a sense of fear. The academic year has already started for everyone else, while the quota system has delayed their own admission. In my case, the greatest difficulty was the actual courses. Our foundations of Greek are not that strong, we needed a period of adjustment. Most people succeed, however. Our life is no different. Besides religious practices, such as praying and the Bayram, the rest of the activities are common to all,? said Burhan Molla, a student at the Computer Engineering and Informatics Department of the University of Patra, speaking to Kathimerini.

In the film, the camera follows the four students: Ahmet is a diligent student who attends courses, prays five times a day and ultimately makes it. Meanwhile Osman is going after his dream through union activity and Aisha is enjoying herself at student parties while Fatma is bored of life. Screened earlier this week at the Manual and White Collar Workers Center of Komotini, the film is soon expected to hit screens at various universities around Greece.